Get a Crate. It makes house training incredibly easy.
Let your puppy sleep in your bedroom, at least for the first few nights. This whole experience is scary for a pup. Don’t make him sleep in the laundry room far away from you. Put the crate next to your bed so you can reassure him.
Baby gates are your friend.. Use them to keep the puppy out of places you don’t want him to destroy.
Supervise, supervise, supervise. If you cannot watch him like a hawk, he needs to be in his crate or in his “room,” see below.
Set up a puppy room for when you can’t supervise. Pick a small area like the bathroom or kitchen, block it off with baby gates. Add a bed in one corner and pee pad or newspapers on another corner.
Pick a potty spot. If you don’t want Sparky pooping all over the yard as an adult, pick one area and take him directly there when it’s potty time. Make sure to use a command word like “potty” or “outside” every time your bring him to his spot to go potty
Set a daily routine. House training proceeds more smoothly if your puppy knows what to expect from her day.
Enroll in a puppy class. Your pup will learn some basic obedience, but the real benefit of puppy classes is socialization with other puppies and people.
Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Not all advice is good advice. Take everything with a grain of salt.
Make sure everyone is on the same page. Discuss the puppy rules with your whole family. Figure out who will do what when. Pick one set of training cues and stick with them. With this being said, your entire family should all have the same one word command words that you as a family have agreed on. For example, you should all say “Potty” if you have chosen that command word for going potty. Some command words to use: outside, sit, stay, down, come, potty, ouch, walk, car, etc. Read our Basic Puppy Command post.
Play some puppy training games.
Don’t encourage behavior that you’ll regret when he gets big. Jumping up is cute when he weighs ten pounds. It won’t be cute when he’s 60 pounds.
Get your pup used to handling from day one, touching feet, nails, tail, ears, mouth, teeth, and belly with love. Your vet will thank you.
Start grooming early on. For the same reason as above.
Let your puppy meet at least two new (friendly and gentle) people every day.
Take your puppy to the pet store. Great socialization opportunity. Keep her in the shopping cart and off the floor until she’s had all her puppy shots. ONLY AFTER 16 weeks of age when he is fully immunized!!!
Introduce your pup to all kinds of novel things. People in funny hats. Remote control cars. Kids playing. Agility equipment. Balloons. Cats. Car rides.
Socialize, don’t traumatize. Introduce new experiences slowly and never let your puppy get overwhelmed.
Invite friends and family to meet-the-puppy parties (again when he is a little older).
Frozen wet wash clothes and age appropriate teething toys are great when puppies are teething.
Reward good behavior, don’t wait for bad behavior. Reward the puppy when you see him doing something you like. Don’t wait until he’s misbehaving to give him attention.
Bring you puppy out every day – even just for a few moments, to get fresh air and use to being in different environments.
When he is a puppy, leave food out so he becomes familiar where his food is. Once, he is familiar with that, feed him 3 times a day or what is recommended by the vet.
Pick up anything you don’t want destroyed. If it’s on the floor, it WILL be chewed.
Get your puppy micro chipped. It’s your best chance at being reunited with your dog if he ever gets lost. You can get this done for around $25 at your vet or local shelter.
Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. For example, teach your puppy to sit when greeting people. Don’t just yell at her for jumping up.
Watch your puppy’s poops. Disgusting? Yes. But it could save your puppy’s life. If you notice anything like blood, take your puppy for a vet visit ASAP.
Provide toys. If you provide her with her own toys, she’s less likely to chew on yours (ha! Yeah right. It’s worth a shot, though).
Make your own toys. Like kids who’d rather play with the box than with the toy that came in it, puppies are usually happier chewing on an empty plastic water bottle than an expensive store-bought toy.
Rotate the toys. Let your puppy have two or three toys at a time. Changing up the toy selection will keep Sparky interested.
Treat-dispensing toys make great puppy sitters.
If you think your puppy needs to go potty at all, don’t hesitate to take him outside! You’d be surprised how often puppies need to go sometimes.
Practice separation. As tempting as it is, don’t let Sparky be glued to your side all day. Letting your puppy have time to himself in his crate or room will help prevent separation anxiety.
Hellos and Goodbyes should be no big deal. Don’t make a fuss over your pup when you leave or come home. Again, prevents separation anxiety.
Don’t get offended when your puppy chews on you. Puppies bite. Sometimes painfully. It is NOT aggression. Do not react by yelling, smacking him, rolling him on his back or holding his muzzle shut.
Don’t use ammonia-based cleaners. Your puppy will think it smells like urine and it will actually encourage her to pee there again. Use an enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle.
Visit the vet. Take your pup for a visit when she doesn’t have an appointment. Bring some treats and ask the office staff to give her some. Make the vet’s office a fun place!
As a general rule of thumb, the number of hours a puppy can “hold it” is his age in months plus one. So a two month old puppy should be crated for a maximum of three
As a general rule of thumb, the number of hours a puppy can “hold it” is his age in months plus one. So a two month old puppy should be crated for a maximum of three hours at a time (during the day. When they sleep at night, puppies can usually hold it for longer).
Leave the TV or radio on when you leave your puppy home alone.
Teach good leash manners early. Better to teach your puppy to walk nice on leash than to teach your adult dog to stop pulling on leash.
Remember that your puppy is a baby – don’t ask too much of her. Don’t worry about whether she’ll perform a perfect sit/stay or heel. Plenty of time for that when she’s older. Focus on socialization and having fun.
Take lots of pictures. Puppies grow so fast!!
Be prepared for your pup to become an obnoxious little brat around age 6-10 months. Adolescence is even more challenging than puppyhood. Have fun with your new puppy. They will grow out of this stage!
Enjoy your new bundle of joy! RELAX too. If you're an uptight new puppy owner, puppies can sense this and thus stress them out.